Ever have one of those days when everything in your divorce seems really unfair? Let’s talk about an unfair divorce. I’ll start with an example.
I talked to a woman recently who has a full time job and is struggling to pay her bills. Her ex has not paid child support(which was court ordered) for over a year, and she is spending money on attorneys to retrieve the money, meanwhile eating into what she might eventually collect through a judge’s ruling. And, she knows her ex’s salary. In other words, it’s not that he can’t afford to pay it, he just knows he can get away with NOT paying it, because he is banking on the fact that she will give up because of the legal bills.
On the flip side, how about if you are the one having to pay the child support and you feel you got an unfair ruling? Maybe you have to pay what your state requires, but you have the kids most of the time. That unfairness could cause someone to feel frustrated, bitter, angry and hopeless.
An unfair divorce can sometimes feel unbearable. Maybe your ex just got a new car and Bears season tickets, and you are working three jobs and still can’t pay all your bills. Or, (for the person paying the child support), maybe you feel like your ex isn’t looking for a job because he/she would rather just accept the child support.
Guess what? An unfair divorce isn’t that unusual. Divorce IS unfair because of the way it makes us feel. But, we have two choices: Try to change things or learn to live with those feelings and be happy and healthy despite the unfairness.
Here are 7 pieces of advice for your unfair divorce:
1. Stop calling your friends and family and telling them about how much your ex is screwing you.
Remember that the people you are venting to might have a worse situation than you do. Maybe you saying “I have no money” might be more money than they have. Remember that your friends and family DO care about you, they just don’t want to hear ever detail of your divorce and how much you hate your ex.
2. Try not to be petty.
Are you going to go to court over $50 bucks a month? Ask yourself if what you are angry about will really make a difference in your life. Are you really angry about the money or are you harboring feelings of resentment about other things that have nothing to do with the financial part of the divorce? Sometimes just recognizing what’s really bothering you is helpful in living with it.
3. Remember that you ex has to live with himself/herself.
If your unfair divorce involves your ex cheating you out of what you were awarded in the divorce settlement, he/she is very aware of that. Deep down, they have to look at themselves in the mirror and think, “I am paying less to my children than I agreed to.” Or, if the person is asking for something you know truly is unfair, be it a certain parenting schedule, or maintenance, or an unfair division of assets, that is their burden to live with. People aren’t stupid, and anyone can ask for anything they want to in a divorce. That doesn’t mean they are going to get it.
So, don’t let the unfairness of what your ex is asking for derail you. Listen to your attorney and/or mediator’s advice, (if you truly trust them. If you don’t, don’t be afraid to get another consultation) and don’t be intimidated by your ex. If you feel like your divorce is unfair, chances are your ex feels that the divorce is unfair, as well.
4. Increase your own income.
The time you are spending dwelling on the fact that you got screwed could be spent so much more productively by looking for more opportunities to increase your own income. This way, your unfair divorce won’t seem so bad. Wouldn’t it be nice if someday your child support check made no difference in covering your monthly expenses? i.e. you didn’t even need it?? Or, if the child support check you had to give your ex didn’t really make a difference? Keep persevering and that will become more and more of a reality.
5. Have gratitude.
Try not to think about what you don’t have and instead, focus on what you have! You are beautiful, you have HEALTHY kids, you have YOUR HEALTH, you have amazing friends and family, and maybe a guy/girl you’re nuts about. That’s pretty awesome. Could you use more money? Absolutely. Who couldn’t? But if you feel grateful for what you have, it changes your attitude and your overall quality of life. Side note: if you give back-even just a little donation to an organization you think is in need, money will come to you. The universe gives to givers. I completely believe that!
6. Remember that you are better off now than you were in the marriage.
Regardless of the things going on right now that seem unfair, try to remember why you are doing all of this, and the place where you hope to get when the divorce is over. Because a better life is ahead for you. Do you believe that? I hope so! So, even if things seem unfair right now, what is fair is that you get to be happy in the future!
7. Calling your attorney will cost you.
When people get angry, sometimes their first instinct is to call their lawyer. Bad idea. Why? At $500 an hour, just calling to complain for a few minutes will cost you $250 That’s a really nice night out or a hair cut and color at a nice hair salon.
Think before you dial, ‘Will this help my situation? Or should I just call my sister or best friend to vent and then be done with it?’ Maybe bring it up to your therapist or your divorce coach. Or maybe journal how you’re feeling. Or, maybe go workout. These are all better and less expensive ways to vent.
An unfair divorce can be maddeningly frustrating. Everyone (both men and women) have been there. And, feeling cheated, either by your ex or by a court’s decision is very difficult. It burns inside you. It feels unjust and cruel.
I am not comparing murder to child support, but think about this. Can you even imagine how Ron Goldman’s family felt after the O.J. trial? It’s hard to even fathom injustice like that. I’m not sure I could handle my loved one getting murdered and then having the killer found not guilty. But the Goldman’s survived. And they fought. And they won in the end. It took years and years but it happened.
In an unfair divorce, you might never see justice, and you might always feel like you got screwed. But, the key to happiness is working on letting it go, and focusing on all the other wonderful aspects of your life, and controlling what you can: how you live your life, your professional life, who you spend time with, how you raise your kids, and things you choose to do to be happy.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t fight an unfair divorce, but rather that you need to weigh your options carefully. If you’re not leaving too much money on the table, it might be better to let it go. That said, the right choice might be to take legal action and keep trying. Only you can decide what is right, and sometimes it seems like there are no good options. But, eventually, the answers will come to you. Just be SMART, not emotional.
ANGER COSTS MONEY.
If you do let it go, remember that people who cheat people have to live with the truth inside of them, and they have to deal with God at the end of the day. Let your ex and God take care of that. You take care of your kids and yourself. Your job is happiness. End of story. And dwelling on your unfair divorce won’t bring you that.